Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

Subscribe with Bloglines

My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


  • 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
  • 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
  • 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
  • 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
  • 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
  • 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
  • 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
  • 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
  • 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
  • 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
  • 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
  • 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
  • 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
  • 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
  • 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
  • 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
  • 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
  • 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
  • 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
  • 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
  • 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
  • 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
  • 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
  • 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
  • 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
  • 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
  • 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
  • 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
  • 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
  • 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
  • 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
  • 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
  • 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
  • 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
  • 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
  • 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
  • 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
  • 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
  • 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
  • 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
  • 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
  • 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
  • 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
  • 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

  • Powered by Blogger

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Don't Bash the 'Burgh

    Ask me what my dream job is (aside from Isabelle Mercier's chip-caddy) and I'd say I'd like to be a newspaper columnist. To write about whatever I wanted, with a large audience reading my every word. That'd be awesome. That's a big reason why I started this blog, to give myself the outlet no reputable news organization would. When I was first out of college I applied to be a guest columnist for our neighborhood paper. It would've been a nice way to break into journalism by a side door, they held a dozen column inches a day on the opinion page for an Average Joe or Jane to write about whatever moved them.

    I thought I'd be a good candidate. I was a writing major, I had clips to prove I knew my way around the language, and I had enthusiasm like you wouldn't believe. Heck, I even used to deliver that paper from time to time when I was a kid. You'd think I was a shoo-in. Nope. I never even got a rejection from the opinion editor. I sent follow-up letters, I called him--nothing. And it's not like this was some hectic big-city daily, they only published during the week and probably had a circulation of around 50K. Prick. They ended up going with a predictable slate of "interesting" voices--a businessnam, a housewife, a girl in her freshman year of high school, a senior citizen. Not a lot of brilliant copy came out of that, as I recall. Maybe that was the whole point of the exercise.

    So when I read newspaper columns I came at them with an envious eye, because they have the job I want. And though there are good reasons why I might be a lousy columnist (I'm shy, I'm lazy, my writing style becomes more baroque every day) I still think maybe I COULD be a good columnist. And when I read crap that is, well, crap, my blood boils.

    It boiled double when I read a column written on January 18th by Bill Johnson of the Rocky Mountain News. Johnson wrote a piece about visiting Pittsburgh on the eve of the Steeler-Bronco AFC title game, and he pretty much trashed my home. He wrote that Pittsburgh is a "butt-ugly" town and that was the tone of the rest of the piece. He described a blighted city burdened by abandoned steel mills overgrown with weeds and inhabited by "hard" people who think about nothing but football.

    Thing is, that doesn't describe the city at all. I think I wrote about this before, but the steel mills have been gone for decades. The mill where my father worked is now a huge retail/entertainment complex. Reading the piece made me wonder if Johnson had made it all up out of whole cloth. He describes a "forbidding" skyline, which is nonsense, our skyline is small but brightly lit with some interesting architecture. He wrote that the South Side was home to 100-125 bars, which is patently ridiculous. If only!

    Johnson also wrote about seeing a man who was standing on a street corner wearing a dress and holding up a sign that read "I BET AGAINST THE STEELERS". And here is where Johnson made a big mistake. Maybe he made up the stuff about the mills and the weeds and the bars and all the other stuff he dissed us with. But he definitely made that up, at least the part about seeing it. Because it happened days before he arrived in Pittsburgh and it appeared on the local news.

    Johnson got caught, and his column now comes with a correction. An article written by a critc named Michael Roberts said that Johnson should lose his job over this, in part because this isn't the first time he's made this sort of "mistake" before. Roberts' piece got picked up and linked by Jim Romenesko's column, meaning it should get more play that it otherwise would.

    I was not one of the "Pittsburgh-based bloggers" who Roberts said brought Johnson's malfeasance to light, at least I don't think I was. You can leave comments about articles at the Rocky Mountain News and I did just that, going far beyond the "you're a jagoff!" stuff many Pittsburghers wrote. I wrote at length about how the abandoned steel mill images were 25 years too late, about how Johnson misidentified the river he was supposedly looking at, about how even as a hatchet job it was vague and senseless.

    I'm glad to see that feathers outside Pittsburgh got ruffled. I don't mind criticism of my home town...well, actually I do, but God knows Pittsburgh ain't perfect. Hell, how many cheap potshots did I take writing about the parade? Cheap, cheap potshots. But if you're gonna bash the 'Burgh, you'd better have compelling evidence right at your fingertips. We're the touchy sort. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

    Play Poker Online
    Play Poker Online at Full Tilt Poker
    Learn, Chat, and Play with the Pros at the fastest growing Online Poker Room.


    Play Poker Online at Blind Bet Poker. Bonuses and promotions by online poker rooms like Doyles Room, Titan Poker, Full Tilt Poker and Noble Poker. Poker strategy for beginners, advanced, and professional poker players. A poker terminology section, news & online poker tournaments.

    Poker Forums
    Definitive online poker portal, featuring a poker odds calculator, poker forums, an excellent poker bonus code section with deposit bonuses.

    Full Tilt Poker Freerolls
    Party Poker Strategy Guide

    The 2006 WSOP
    Total Coverage
    From the Urinals to the Hooker Bar



    Poker Savvy